Federal clean fuel regulations will hit rural, low-income Canadians hardest

A bigger cost for fuel

Last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released their latest report, titled A Distributional Analysis of the Clean Fuel Regulations.

The regulations require liquid fossil fuel (gasoline and diesel) suppliers to reduce the amount of pollution from the fuels they produce and sell for use in Canada over time.

The PBO issued the report to calculate how much money these new fuel regulations will cost Canadians. According to the PBO, at the national level, in 2030, the cost of the Clean Fuel Regulations to households will range from 0.62 percent of disposable income (or $231) for lower-income households to 0.35 percent of disposable income (or $1,008) for higher-income households."

The PBO concludes the regulations will significantly impact lower-income households, who spend a larger share of their income on transportation and other energy-intensive goods and services.

Concerns remain about how these regulations, along with the carbon tax, will penalize those who live in rural communities and who are forced to do more driving due to fewer local services, like health care, and limited public transit options.

Also back in Ottawa, the prime minister's appointed special rapporteur, David Johnston, recommended against a public inquiry into foreign interference in Canadian democracy.

The prime minister quickly accepted there should be no public inquiry into foreign interference in our elections, despite support for such an inquiry from all opposition parties.

Lastly, with Parliament set to rise in June, I will soon begin my annual summer listening tour.

Since I was elected as san MP, every summer I have use the tour to hear (constituent’s) concerns throughout the riding, which is home to a diverse set of communities and people.

If you would like to schedule a meeting during my summer listening tour, please get in touch with me by email or through my toll-free number below.

My question to you this week:

Do you support the new fuel regulations, considering the high cost of gasoline and the escalating carbon tax?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

MP worried about the cost of Canada's debt servicing

Debt servicing concern

For many Canadians, the recent rise in interest rates has led to a significant increase in their monthly payments for variable mortgages, lines of credit, and personal debt.

That has caused great concern as families struggle to make ends meet. In addition to the rise in interest rates, there have been significant increases in property taxes, insurance, groceries, gasoline, diesel, and home heating, such as natural gas or propane and that has made it even more difficult for Canadian households to service their debt, with many finding it unsustainable.

The challenge of servicing debt is not limited to households but extends to different levels of government as well. With higher borrowing costs, governments must divert funds from other critical services to pay off their debt. That can significantly impact the lives of Canadians, particularly those in rural communities who rely on government funding to repair their infrastructure and maintain essential services.

Recently, during an appearance by the finance minister before the finance committee in Ottawa, the topic of debt servicing arose.

The minister was asked how much the federal government is projected to spend on interest on the debt for the upcoming fiscal year The minister refused to provide a number and called the question "fiscal fear-mongering” by the Conservatives.

This response is troubling, as Canadians have the right to know how much is spent on debt servicing. The federal government debt servicing charges for the current fiscal year are estimated to be $43.9 billion. That means significant money is unavailable to fund critical services such as healthcare or support rural communities.
The fiscal year 2021-2022’s public debt servicing costs $20.4 billion.

Since this minister took over the responsibility for finance, our debt servicing has effectively doubled and lacks any projection for a return to balance, which only makes the situation worse. This issue will continue to be the elephant in the room for this government.

As a concerned Canadian, I urge the finance minister to take this matter seriously and provide clear answers regarding our country's fiscal issues.

Canadians deserve to know the truth about our finances and how our tax dollars are spent.

My question this week:

How concerned are you about federal government debt and the apparent lack of seriousness on this subject from our Finance Minister?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Oknagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

Rural communities need more support from federal government

Federal assistance needed

I want to begin by sharing an unfortunate event from 2016.

That year, a rockslide damaged the regional irrigation canal located in the community of Oliver. The canal runs from north of Oliver south to Osoyoos and is critical infrastructure, serving many South Okanagan farming communities.

When it came time to fund the repairs, the local government budgeted to invest its fair share in the project. Likewise, the provincial government of the day also stepped up to cover its share. Unfortunately, the answer was no from the federal government. The bureaucrats said the project did not fit into any established grant programs and washed its hands of the problem.

The area was not in my riding, however, the MP who represented raised the issue many times in Parliament but was ignored by the government.

What was even more infuriating from my perspective was two years later, in 2019, the government gave the mega-grocery corporation Loblaws more than $12 million to help buy more energy-efficient refrigeration. The net earnings of Loblaw Companies Limited reached approximately $1.99 billion in the financial year ending Dec. 31, 2022.

For context, the cost to repair the Oliver irrigation canal was estimated at $11.4 million.

Why do I mention this? In 2021, communities such as Princeton and Merritt, as well as the surrounding unincorporated areas, were devastated by flooding. At the time, there was national media attention about the situation and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised residents of those communities he "had their backs" and "would be there for them."

The mayor of Princeton was given a special number to contact (Trudeau’s) office, but when he tried to use this number, he was told to go talk with the province.

You may have heard recently that the government announced it was giving Volkswagen up to $13 billion in subsidies over the next decade as part of a deal to ensure the automaker builds its electric-vehicle battery plant in southern Ontario. According to Statista, Volkswagen's operating profit in the 2022 fiscal year increased 14.78% from the previous year and stood at roughly 22.1 billion euros.

What you may not have heard is there are still residents in Merritt and Princeton who cannot return home. Likewise, there are many badly needed infrastructure projects these small communities need help to afford.
People in Merritt and Princeton pay taxes to Ottawa like everywhere else but all too often rural Canada is ignored by this government.

It is crucial Ottawa hears directly from rural mayors of these hard hit communities to understand better the struggles they face as they try to rebuild. Last week, I invited Princeton Mayor Spencer Coyne and Merritt Mayor Michael Goetz to appear in Ottawa at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

I want to thank them both for attending and sharing the experiences of their communities and the many challenges they face.

This week's question:

Do you think the federal government is properly supporting rural communities?

I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.


Troubling questions about political interference by China

'Interference in democracy'

This week, a leaked document revealed that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) briefed the federal government two years ago about a foreign influence operation targeting a Canadian MP and his family.

The Conservative MP, Michael Chong, represents the Ontario riding of Wellington-Halton Hills. He and his family in Hong Kong were the targets of an orchestrated intimidation campaign by a diplomat posted in Canada representing the Chinese government .

The reason for the campaign was Chong's criticism of Beijing's human rights record- particularly his motion calling on the Canadian government to recognize a genocide was being carried out by the Chinese communist government against Uyghurs and other Turkic Muslims.

Despite the shock of a foreign government targeting a Canadian MP and his family, the Canadian government did nothing about it. Chong was not previously notified of the intimidation campaign, nor was the diplomat representing the Chinese government expelled.

When questions arose in the House of Commons on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his public safety minister refused to admit when they became aware of the situation and what they did about it. On Tuesday, both the prime minister and the minister claimed they were unaware of the situation until it was raised in the media.

This raises the question of why they did not simply say so on Monday when the questions first arose and what action Trudeau will take in response to this latest information.

The report is the latest in a series of leaks from CSIS indicating interference in Canadian democracy by operatives related to the Chinese government. Those include reports of Chinese state-run police stations in several Canadian cities, a questionable Chinese government donation to the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, its meddling in various ridings in the last election and a former Liberal MP —now sitting as an independent MP—raising concerns.

Despite these mounting concerns, the prime minister continues to avoid answering what he knew and when or denies having knowledge of such actions and events.

My question this week:

Are you concerned about growing interference in our Canadian democratic institutions?

I am interested in hearing what you think. Please let me know at [email protected] or call toll-free at 1-800-665-8711.

Dan Albas is the Conservative MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola and the co-chair of the Standing Joint Committee for the Scrutiny of Regulations.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best.

Dan  is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

Dan welcomes comments, questions and concerns from citizens and is often available to speak to groups and organizations on matters of federal concern. 

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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